Associated British Foods plc (LSE: ABF) is a global food, ingredients and retail company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. Its ingredients division is the world's second largest producer of both sugar and baker's yeast and a major producer of other ingredients including emulsifiers, enzymes and lactose. Its grocery division is a major manufacturer of both branded and private label grocery products and includes the brands Mazola, Ovaltine, Ryvita, Jordans and Twinings. Its retail division, Primark, has 205 stores with over 6.5 million sq ft of selling space across Belgium, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the UK.
It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.
The company was founded by Canadian Willard Garfield Weston in 1935, initially as Food Investments Limited, with the name changing to Allied Bakeries Limited a month later. In 1960 the name was changed again to Associated British Foods. In 1963 the Company acquired Fine Fare, a leading British supermarket chain. Following the death of the founder in 1978, control of the company was passed on to his son Garry, while the North American operations fell to his son Galen. While Garry maintained the company's prominence in the European foods market, ABF's growth has been eclipsed by the phenomenal performance of George Weston Ltd. in North America.
The company sold Fine Fare in 1986 and in 1991 went on to acquire British Sugar. In 1997 ABF sold its retail operations in Northern Ireland and the Republic to Tesco. These businesses were: Quinnsworth and Crazy Prices in the Republic of Ireland and Stewarts Supermarkets Ltd and Crazy Prices in Northern Ireland, the Stewarts Winebarrel off-licence chain, Lifestyle Sports & Leisure Ltd (a retail sports and leisure business), Kingsway Fresh Foods (a meat processing facility) and Daily Wrap Produce (a fruit and vegetable packaging plant).
In 2000 the company sold its interests in Burton's Biscuits. In 2004 it acquired the Tone's spice business and Fleischman yeast business from Burns Philp and in 2007 it purchased Patak's Indian food business.